Silverleaf whitefly update

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There are reports of large infestations of silverleaf whitefly (SLW) from the Narrabri/Moree region. Exponential growth in whitefly numbers coupled with honeydew on leaves indicates that the whitefly are probably SLW and not East Australian native Bemisia or Greenhouse whitefly (GHW).

It is thought that increased host plant availability from a wet winter/spring, warm conditions and a decline in natural enemies due to the use of broad spectrum insecticides has contributed to the high SLW numbers in this more marginal area of occurrence.

DPI&F entomologists will be visiting Narrabri on Thursday, 11 February 2009 and Moree on Friday 13 February 2009 where they will meet with growers and consultants and speak about SLW and the management options that are available.

Cotton fields around St George are at or reaching high densities of SLW. Reports indicate Admiral® has been applied on many fields to suppress SLW populations. Parasitism levels of 50% and 70% were recorded from two fields in the St George area. This should help to keep SLW in check later in the season even if they start to re-infest crops post Admiral® spray.

SLW numbers in Biloela and Theodore are reportedly dropping off. This may be in part due to parasitism levels. Recent testing for insecticide resistance in populations of SLW from Biloela and Theodore show no alarming results for Admiral®. These results were expected due to the minimal use of Admiral® in central Queensland this season.

GHW are in moderate densities in the Norwin region on the Darling Downs. While GHW will produce honeydew it does not normally cause the same problems as SLW which has a wider host range, higher reproductive rate, develops resistance to insecticides rapidly, and is adapted to high temperatures. Where populations are a mix of SLW and GHW, consider treating as if all are SLW.

Remember only one spray of Admiral® is allowed per season.

Article by Zara Ludgate